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Embroidery Artwork Guidelines

A guide to producing artwork for embroidery design and set up.

This guide has been written to assist you in designing, producing and formatting artwork for use in embroidery.

First of all it is useful to have basic understanding of the embroidery process and how we transfer a digitised image from a computer screen onto an item of clothing or piece of fabric. In its basic form embroidery is producing an image onto fabric using needle and thread. This is obviously a description of embroidery craftwork but the basics are the same when replicated on a much larger scale using a modern embroidery machines.

From the point of receiving a piece of artwork we then digitise this on a computer using specialist software then run this programme on our embroidery machines which produces the embroidered finished product.

There are a few rules that we need to follow in order to ensure the finished embroidered design is best replicated onto the fabric it sits.

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Firstly design size

As a general rule the larger the size of the design or logo the more detail can be captured within it. We often have customers who send through a complex and detailed design and want it embroidering onto the left sleeve of a polo shirt. You have to imagine each drawn line or shape within the design needs to be re-produced using thread and therefore the same sharpness is not always possible. If the design is larger in size then those lines can be drawn as a block of thread with a much crisper end visual appearance once embroidered onto the fabric. As a guide the minimum we can embroider text at is 5mm

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Secondly, number of stitches

The number of stitches or stitch count within the design will affect the overall weight of the embroidery. This is a consideration when taking into account the garment or fabric you are applying the embroidery to. For example a design with a large stitch count and therefore a heavy weight will distort a lightweight and thin fabric t-shirt and cause the t-shirt to become miss-shaped when worn

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Thirdly, design position

The location of the embroidery on a garment is often key to how the finished product will turn out. You need to consider the reason behind having a bespoke embroidered item of clothing in the first place. Do you want to advertise your business to whoever you come into contact with or do you simply want a staff uniform that your employees can wear in order to look smart and presentable? An advert needs to be easily seen and read. You may therefore want your logo big and bold across the front with perhaps a web address or contact number on. Staff uniform may just need to be decorated with embroidery for tax purposes so a simple tax tab or left sleeve embroidery will suffice.

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Finally, the specific clothing item

Each different item of clothing presents its different challenges when it comes to embroidering it with a design. Caps and hats need to use a special frame and this dictates the positions available to embroider. Jackets often have linings in them with access points to insert and embroidery frame. This again affects the positions available to attach a logo. As discussed above the weight of the garment fabric often means that a large stitch count design cannot be placed onto it as to do so would distort the garment and make it look miss-shaped when worn. We do provide a handy list of products that we can easily transform such as embroidered hoodies

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Points that you don’t need to worry about when it comes to designing your artwork or logo include number of colours. We can embroider up to 12 colours and the price of embroidery is not affected by the number of colours within a design.

Size is another variable that you don’t need to necessarily consider. You are welcome to state the size you want your design to be produced in or you can simply ask us to size as we see fit according to the garment, fabric and position of the logo.

Once your design is finalised you can then send it through to us here at JKL. We accept artwork in a variety of different formats. Currently we are able to operate with the following;

  • Media – CD, DVD, USB etc
  • Emailed – jpeg, gif, tiff, AI, eps
  • Paper – letterhead, compliment slip

If you have artwork in a format other than those listed above then please contact us to discuss as we are usually able to alter into a workable file.

Having received your artwork we will then digitise it and transfer it into the software that can be read by our embroidery machines. This is a complicated process and takes an experienced digitiser to adapt and take an image and produce it in a stitched format. Consideration is given to stitch start and finish points, stitch direction along with infill, block and line stitching amongst many other variables. The end digitised result should then be the best structured method for the machine to embroiderer your design onto the garment fabric.

It is at this stage that we produce a swatch sample. This is an actual embroidered design of your artwork onto a piece of fabric similar to the one which will be used in the garments you have selected. It is this swatch sample that we then send out to you for approval before we embroider your clothing.

It is worth pointing out at this stage that there are costs involved in both digitising artwork and producing a swatch sample. We therefore charge for this service which will be included in your fully itemised quote. It is also worth noting that as you have paid for the artwork to be digitised it is your property and you will then be able to use this with other suppliers providing they support the format in which it is written. Please also be aware that this digitising or set up charge is payable only once so any future orders for embroidered clothing with the same design or logo on will not be charged to set up.

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The above are points to consider when designing your logo or artwork. We appreciate that ordering embroidered clothing can be a daunting task. We also know that each individual customer will have their own bespoke design requirements. We therefore have friendly fully trained staff on hand to help and offer advice at every step of the way. We can be contacted by email via, by phone on 0114 239 8000 (our offices are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm) or by completing one of the contact form pages on our website at